Tackling Europe: Åre and Val d’Isere Tech Races

Megan Harrod
2015-12-11 15:14

VAL D'ISERE, France (Dec. 12, 2015) – The stage is set on the infamous La Face de Bellevarde in Val D’Isere, France. Those of you who know a thing or two about this piste know that it is not forgiving. It’s steep, it’s bumpy, it’s dark, it’s slick and it’s technical. Tomorrow, it will be a two run battle to the finish.

The last time Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) battled La Face de Bellevarde in 2013, he lost the battle, sliding out on his left hip. That was the first time since 2009 Ligety had missed an Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom final. It was also the first time Ligety had not landed on a giant slalom podium since the 2012 season opening victory in Soelden, Austria. In 2010, Ted emerged victorious and in 2012 he came in third on La Face de Bellevarde. It’s not his favorite track – in fact he has called it “miserable to ski” previously – but Saturday GS course is set by Austria and is more open, less offset and flows more with the piste than we’ve seen it in the past. Tomorrow, will Ted find redemption?

Ted Ligety goes down on his hip at Val d'Isere in 2013. (Getty Images-Agence Zoom/Francis Bompard)

Over in Åre, Sweden, Mikaela Shiffrin and current World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn will be in the spotlight in a weekend of tech racing. It’s far too early to start talking overall World Cup standings, but Shiffrin’s sitting in the second position right now behind Vonn, by four points.

These ladies love Åre—it’s where Shiffrin grabbed her first Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom win and the last time Vonn was here, she snagged a win of her own in March of 2012. Plus, of the four times Shiffrin has skied this track, she has won three times and was fourth in the fourth. Add to that the fierce comeback queen Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY)—fresh off the best comeback results of her career with 15th and 10th place results in Aspen, and World Juniors slalom champion Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN), too. Safe to say this weekend bodes well for the ladies in Åre.

Lindsey Vonn celebrates after winning the GS at Åre in 2012. (Getty Images-Agence Zoom/Nisse Schmidt)

Val D’Isere Starters

Michael Ankeny – SL
David Chodounsky – GS, SL
Mark Engel – SL
Tommy Ford – GS
Tim Jitloff – GS
Robby Kelley – SL
Tim Kelley – SL
Ted Ligety – GS, SL

Are Starters
Paula Moltzan – SL
Mikaela Shiffrin – GS, SL
Resi Stiegler – SL
Lindsey Vonn – GS

Mikaela Shiffrin
Racing my first World Cup super G race in Lake Louise was so much fun. I couldn’t believe how much fun I had even just skiing the super G, and getting 15th place in my first speed race and my first time on that hill was also really incredible. And, I even know where I could have been faster. It was really cool to have had that experience, and also for Lindsey to win all three races. I got to watch some comparison video and really see why she’s so fast compared to what I felt on the course, and that was a pretty cool perspective, versus just watching her in the speed races and trying to guess why she’s fast compared to the other girls. 

Since Lake Louise, we drove immediately to the airport airport straight from the finish line of the super G race at Lake Louise, and flew to Sweden. We were training in a place called Vemdalen. We were training two hours away from Åre and we had two days of really, really good, hard surface. It’s been kind of warm here, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the surface was that good, and to get two days of really good training right off the plane was great.

We drove to Åre, and we’re here now getting ready for the first winter European GS race aside from Soelden…I’m excited to be back in Åre. It was my first World Cup win, so it’s definitely a special place for me, but I’ve also had some okay GS races here and some – kind of – tough races where I didn’t ski so well. So I’m really excited for tomorrow to see if I could put that good skiing and that courageous skiing that I’ve been working on out on the course. I hear that the surface is amazing, so I’m really excited to race GS. And obviously, I’m always excited to race slalom.


Saturday, Dec. 12
3:30 a.m. - Men's GS1, Val d'Isere - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
4:30 a.m. - Women's GS1, Are  - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
6:30 a.m. - Men's GS2, Val d'Isere - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
7:30 a.m. - Women's GS2, Are  - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
3:00 p.m. - Men's GS, Val d'Isere, Universal HD
4:30 p.m. - Women's GS, Val d'Isere, Universal HD

Sunday, Dec. 13
3:30 a.m. - Men's SL1, Val d'Isere - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
4:30 a.m. - Women's SL1, Are  - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
6:30 a.m. - Men's SL2, Val d'Isere - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
7:30 a.m. - Women's SL2, Are  - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
3:00 p.m. - Men's SL, Val d'Isere, Universal HD
3:00 p.m. - Men's GS, Val d'Isere, Universal HD
4:30 p.m. - Women's GS, Val d'Isere, Universal HD